Centre approves new HITS policy

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New Delhi, Nov 12 (ANI) : The Union Cabinet on Thursday approved the proposal of Information and Broadcasting Ministry to issue policy guidelines for Headend-in-the-Sky (HITS) operators.

The policy guidelines provides for a framework within which the HITS service providers has to provide services in the country.

HITS serves the whole country providing its signals through satellite to many Multi System Operator (MSO) or cable operators who can further send the signals to the customers using their network.

The policy does not mandate for either the cable operators or subscribers to necessarily obtain signals from a HITS platform or network, the subscribers and cable operators can continue with the existing system.

Hence the cable operators have liberty to switch over to HITS provider network if so desired. Thus it has a basic difference from the areas notified for CAS (Conditional Access System), which is mandatory.

HITS would help a subscriber with a wide choice of digital channels, better picture quality and value added services at affordable price. HITS would provide greater channel capacity from the present limited capacity of channels placed in prime or non prime band.

The new HITS policy provides for an enabling regulatory environment for operators. The guidelines are exhaustive and provide for complete procedure for obtaining permission and conditions thereto.

According to the new guidelines HITS services are allowed in both 'C-Band' and 'Ku-Band' and operators can uplink from Indian soil only and will have to install SMS and encryption system.

Service providers are not permitted to provide signals directly to the subscribes. However, if HITS operator is also MSO or Cable Operator, he can do so through his distribution network.

As per the new policy total direct and indirect foreign investment including FDI is allowed up to 74 percent. Prior FIPB approval will be required if the FDI in beyond 49 percent.

The cross media holding restriction of 20 percent of total paid up equity has been prescribed for various segment of broadcasting services. These restrictions have been provided to avoid vertical integration and to promote competition. (ANI)

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